UKCME logo
UK Centre for Materials Education
Working with you to enhance the student experience
People working at tables, water molecule magnified, groups of people working, split over three small windows.
Home | Important Themes | Resources | Events and Workshops | About the Centre | Search

The UK Government is encouraging colleges to have an increasing role in the provision of Foundation Degrees, which will bring them even further within the HE remit of the Centre. One of the key areas of UKCME work is to provide information and contacts to help colleges work effectively in the HE environment. Current regulations restrict degree awarding powers to those institutions with significant research activity. This is at present under review, but is likely to only affect specialist colleges (eg Art colleges) in the short term. There are at present two main routes for colleges wishing to provide Foundation Degrees. Both of these routes are designed to link colleges with institutions with degree awarding powers.


This is where a college affiliates with an HE institution and delivers their degrees. Colleges usually follow the same syllabi and often are required to use similar entry requirements, assessment schemes etc. Typically, the HE institution links with groups of colleges in its own geographical area, or those with similar specialisations.


This is where the college designs its own course and links with the HE institution to gain accreditation and obtain access to external examiners etc. This is the most costly and time consuming route, but if you want to provide a specialist course or one designed for your local industry requirements it may be the only acceptable route.

Bradford College have begun their Materials Foundation Degree in Metallurgy and Engineering Materials. This is a part time or distance learning degree which is aimed at students in employment. This has been written in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. As Bradford College are the ‘owners’ of the degree it is permissible for them to franchise it to other colleges. Contact Richard Brown at Bradford College for further details.

The key area of innovation with foundation degrees is the requirement for students to complete three units of ‘work-based learning’. This is likely to present the greatest challenge to colleges intending to offer these qualifications. UKCME is actively working with other organizations to arrange training and information in this area and if you require further information or assistance, please contact us.

The newly-formed Foundation Degree Forward organisation is designed to promote the development of Foundation Degrees and their site has some basic information. Further development of their support services is promised, but much of the support for teaching and learning will be provided through the network of Higher Education Academy Subject Centres, such as UKCME.



See also »